Writing Ages

Talk about The Starry Expanse Project (aka realRIVEN), Myst, Riven, or anything related.
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Blood Raven
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Writing Ages

Postby Blood Raven » 25 Feb 2015, 11:39

The Myst series got me thinking, how exactly does writing ages work? I mean, sure it creates a new world by the vision of the writer, but does it really? Since some of the ages written by Atrus do have civilizations on them which do have a past (which is either "generated" when writing the age or has been there before), it can be implied that the writer does not "create the world", but merely create a link to it. Which in turn implies that there are an unlimited number of Ages, just waiting for someone to link to them, and which means there are an unlimited number of ages that haven't been ever visited outside of their native races. That is essentially the parallel universes theory, but with links between them and no recurring characters.
The opposite is equally weird: Let's imply that the writer does indeed create worlds when writing an age. That would mean that all the civilizations on those ages has been "generated" by the writer, which brings the question, can the writer know what he's creating? If an experienced age writer does know that, could he create whatever species he wishes to? Which could be kinda creepy, since the ability to write ages, fallen into the wrong hands could create perfect killing machine species for example.
Also, it leads to another question. Was Earth written? Was the current universe we're in written by a D'ni and where exactly did it all begin? Were the D'ni written into an age themselves?
Sorry if these questions are already answered in some game, book or forum, I've played only up to Exile.

dgelessus
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby dgelessus » 25 Feb 2015, 13:49

The D'ni generally saw writing ages as merely creating a link to one of the ages in the infinite great tree of possibilities. Gehn for example thought that he created his ages, rather than linking to already existing ones, which is why he considers himself like a god to age natives.

As I understand it you can in theory describe anything you like and there will be an age matching that description. That of course mainly includes landscapes, but if you had enough knowledge of biology you could probably also describe creatures in great detail. However I imagine that when describing small details the risk of age instability will be even greater than when focusing only on an age's basic properties. Atrus couldn't even properly write a ship into an age consisting of little more than an ocean with a few rocks - whether the failure is caused by the fact that he modified an existing age is a different matter - and although Atrus did not have as much knowledge as "real" D'ni writers it sounds like more complex modifications could have fatal consequences.

Earth was written by the D'ni. Short backstory: the Ronay, ancestors of the D'ni, lived on an age named Garternay that would soon be uninhabitable due to their home planet's star dying. As a result numerous people started to write new home ages for the Ronay to migrate to. The majority of the population moved to the age of Terahnee, however a few small groups moved to other ages, such as D'ni (i. e. Earth). The reason Ri'neref (writer of D'ni and first D'ni King) chose to write a cavern rather than a more pleasant place to live was to encourage his followers to write new ages rather than spending all their time in their home age. Fast forward seven thousand years and two people wipe out almost all of the D'ni population by releasing a toxic gas into the cavern. Atrus's grand/parents were some of the few people to escape. Family problems happened, Atrus traps Gehn on Riven, throws Myst book into star fissure, Stranger finds it, and Myst begins.

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KellyCoston
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby KellyCoston » 25 Feb 2015, 14:09

Yep, you nailed it. It stems from the "Santa Clause" theory, which is a scientific theory that runs something along the lines of "there's an infinite number of parallel universes. Anything is, quite literally, possible. Because it already exists."
Linking Books were just a bridge to one of those options. I was just reading my new shiny hardcover Book of Atrus yesterday and also realized Ghen was wrong about something else, too.
Ghen had always assumed that only the D'ni could Write, because it had always been documented so. But Katran, a Riven native, who was a scribe of Ghen, wrote two Ages on her own. One was a safe, disc-shaped world that was totally bizarre. The other was Myst. Katran (who was renamed by Atrus to Catherine) was not D'ni.
So if that's true, then anyone at all can Write Linking Books.
- Rayne

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Blood Raven
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby Blood Raven » 25 Feb 2015, 16:01

Yeah, that all makes sense, but one more question: If all the ages already exist somewhere, are they in the same universe, like, different distant planets, or are they completely different universes? And if they're different universes wouldn't that mean that physics and stuff like that should be different in the other universes?
Also, it seems anyone can write ages, but the D'ni have some sort of natural gift to do so.
Thanks for the answers guys :)

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KellyCoston
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby KellyCoston » 25 Feb 2015, 16:06

Both. :) Infinite possibilities.
- Rayne

dgelessus
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby dgelessus » 25 Feb 2015, 17:23

Ages are essentially parallel universes. There's the whole star fissure thing though - that may at first make it seem like ages are just planets, but the star fissure doesn't go through the entire planet and out the other side or anything. It's more of a connection between the parallel universes, or at least a connection to the Starry Expanse, whatever that can be considered, which in turn connects to all ages. It's also worth noting that Riven and Relto share a place in the Starry Expanse, both lead to the same place on Earth near the Cleft.

I wouldn't say the D'ni are naturally gifted writers, they just have the knowledge and consider it a gift from Yahvo. (Anyone else ever noticed that Yahvo is just another spelling of the Hebrew word YHVH, which is also where the words Yahve and Jehova come from? Who knows, maybe the Jewish religion was brought to Earth by the D'ni. Now I'm starting to think about parallels between the D'ni fleeing from Garternay and Adam and Eve being banished from paradise. This is getting weird.)

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Echo Dragon Wolf
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby Echo Dragon Wolf » 03 May 2015, 19:00

for actually writing the age, I think it's less of "there's a mountain here, a tree here, etc." but more of a combination of idea and concepts, a "feeling" of the age." Like in Myst 3 when Atrus writes that "Balanced systems stimulate civilization" and "Dynamic forces spur change." I think you more of define the concept of the age rather than write it explicitly. You might be able to, but it might not and well, as in Stoneship when Atrus tried to write in the boat. I like that idea, it's more interesting than explicitly describing the age, more of setting the parameters and letting some greater force determine the details. Atrus writes about that idea in his Everdunes (I think) journal as well.

Hmm... maybe it has something to do with quantum uncertainty/probability... O_O
And now, I am at rest. Understanding that in books, and ages, and life, the ending can never truly be written...

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Blood Raven
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby Blood Raven » 04 May 2015, 08:58

Echo Dragon Wolf wrote:for actually writing the age, I think it's less of "there's a mountain here, a tree here, etc." but more of a combination of idea and concepts, a "feeling" of the age." Like in Myst 3 when Atrus writes that "Balanced systems stimulate civilization" and "Dynamic forces spur change." I think you more of define the concept of the age rather than write it explicitly. You might be able to, but it might not and well, as in Stoneship when Atrus tried to write in the boat. I like that idea, it's more interesting than explicitly describing the age, more of setting the parameters and letting some greater force determine the details. Atrus writes about that idea in his Everdunes (I think) journal as well.

Hmm... maybe it has something to do with quantum uncertainty/probability... O_O

Well, as I understand it, the writer COULD write "there's a mountain there and a tree there", but the more specific he is about an element, the more unstable the age becomes. It's more like procedural generation: Choose a biome and hope for a nice place to generate (or link to).
The unstability wouldn't be a problem for creating a killing machine species though - you just specify them to the last detail, go in, rescue some with a linking book and leave the age to decay... Weird theory though, since in Myst there doesn't seem to be a lot of wars.

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Echo Dragon Wolf
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby Echo Dragon Wolf » 04 May 2015, 11:54

Maybe terrain, atmosphere, etc. can be written descriptively, but life and living beings can't. Life is kind of unpredictable, and still pretty much a mystery (what is the meaning of life, etc., consciousness, how does the brain work) and is different than inanimate objects. Maybe the life can be described to a point, until they become to unstable to actually be alive. Just speculation.
And now, I am at rest. Understanding that in books, and ages, and life, the ending can never truly be written...

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udqbpn
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Re: Writing Ages

Postby udqbpn » 22 May 2015, 22:34

I just thought I'd point out that part of the very story of Riven was the conflict between Atrus and Gehn's philosophies on this subject. Atrus and the D'ni for the most part believed that they were linking to worlds which already existed in the infinite possibilities. Gehn's whole problem stemmed from his disagreement, his belief that he was creating the worlds he wrote, and as such, was their creator and basically their God. This conflict is actually pretty clear from the journals in the book, but is also elaborated more upon in the first of the books written about the series.


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